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There are places you pop into for a swift drink or a quick bite to eat, and there are places that demand you appreciate the surroundings, linger over an exquisite cocktail and enjoy the fine cuisine. Zurawina, which means 'cranberry' and is located bang in the centre of Warsaw on Zurawia Street, is most definitely one of the latter.
A large, airy room is flooded with natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows that face the street and can be fully opened to provide fresh air in the warmer months. The décor is modern, stylish and dominated by white and, although minimalist, cushioned nooks and the occasional armchair give an air of relaxed comfort. Local young artists are given a boost with a selection of paintings on the walls that changes every six months or so.
For diners the menu keeps it simple, with a smallish number of carefully chosen dishes prepared from the best ingredients and beautifully presented. Mains include seafood linguine in white wine, slow-braised lamb shank with ratatouille or rib-eye steak with Rome salad. There are also weekday lunch specials with different themes for each day. The wine list is long enough to match anything on the menu, with European classics as well as more economical options. Or you can sit at the long bar that occupies one side of the room and have the bartender prepare you a deluxe cocktail.
Monday nights offer live jazz of the classy lounge variety, and it's worth pointing out that Zurawina is most definitely on the map for smart Varsovians. The nice thing is that, although very chic and popular with the up-market crowd for drinks and business lunches, it manages to pull off the trick of being welcoming and unintimidating; certainly a strong contender if you're planning a special date.